As technology permeates more and more aspects of our lives, colleges and universities continue to implement new programs and tools to help administration, faculty, and students simplify their day. Most schools have software systems for managing everything from admissions to finances to curriculum, but when it comes to the adoption and purchasing of course materials, many institutions still use a manual process through a physical store.
If you’ve noticed life as a consumer has changed over the past decade, the transformation can be traced to one word: convenience.
It’s why Amazon has one-click purchasing, Instagram is now shoppable, and retail stores have implemented easy cashier-less checkouts. Consumer expectations have transformed at a rapidly accelerating pace—and university bookstores and their customers are not exempt from this desire for convenience.
Even as shopping becomes more accessible from wherever, whenever, many universities have struggled to keep up with the pace of change: it’s one of the reasons why bookstore sales are down by as much as 35%.
As universities continue to find ways to evolve with their students to ensure student success and retention, the model of an online bookstore managed through a partner is becoming a clear and convenient solution.
With 24/7 availability, expanded selection of inventory, lower costs, and convenient ordering and shipping, online bookstores are allowing universities to focus on meeting faculty and student needs when it comes to course materials and their effectiveness (learn more about the 5 benefits universities see after adopting an online bookstore).
Textbook prices are on the rise and students realize that not obtaining the required course materials will affect their academic performance. There are many financial burdens students face while in college and they sometimes have to choose between purchasing textbooks or paying for food, rent, or other everyday necessities. While many colleges are working to utilize more OER (Open Educational Resources) as course material, the availability is limited for more advanced level courses. Lower cost alternatives are being provided more and more from publishers, but most of the time students don't utilize the same publishers across their various classes and students end up sharing textbooks, making copies of chapters, or just not acquiring the materials at all.
Amy is the newest Director of Business Development at Akademos, responsible for building new partnerships in the Western US. She has worked in Higher Ed for over 20 years, specializing in Retention, Data Analytics, Financial Aid and Enrollment. Amy is passionate about bringing new ideas to the industry to foster a successful student lifecycle.
The student of today looks much different than 10, or even 5, years ago, which is why it can be extremely difficult to diagnose what may be at the heart of declining enrollments and higher attrition rates. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 30 percent of students who entered college in the fall of 2014 did not return for year 2.1 The 6-year graduation rate in the U.S. is reported at 59%2, however, some believe this to be even lower due to the method upon which colleges are reporting these rates, and if transfers are included as part of the calculation. For many schools, the cost to retain a student is more cost-effective than recruiting a new one, and this shift will continue as we see a trend in educational sectors closing schools, merging or moving to predominantly online models.
What’s more effortless than purchasing your textbooks through Akademos? Purchasing them with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Students can now use the cash that is already available in their digital wallet, a bank account, student ID card, or credit card with a simple touch.
Recently, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette made headlines for a $1,000 eBook. The access code for an introductory accounting course was purposefully priced at almost 4x the cost of the printed textbook. Criticism of the university and publisher spread quickly over social media, accusing them of price manipulation and scamming students into more debt. UL-Lafayette’s response did not do much to assuage anger, causing much disbelief that the institution acted on “good intentions.” Even further providing fuel for the fire when the price of the digital version was changed to match the print version and not significantly lower like most digital texts.